MIAMI, Fla. — Tropical Storm Laura has strengthened near Puerto Rico, the National Hurricane Center said.
As of the 5 p.m. update, Laura is about 100 miles west of Ponce, Puerto Rico, according to NHC. The system is packing 50 mph winds and is moving west at 18 mph.
Laura is forecast to become a Category 1 hurricane once the storm approaches Cuba. It could remain a hurricane as it moves somewhat closer to Florida
ABC Action News Chief Meteorologist Denis Phillips says intensity is a major question mark for Laura.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Marco formed over the Northwestern Caribbean late Friday night. However, Marco does not pose a threat to Florida.
Watches and Warnings:
Tropical Storm Warning:* Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra* U.S. Virgin Islands* The northern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the border with Haiti* The southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Punta Palenque* The northern coast of Haiti from Le Mole St. Nicholas to the border with the Dominican Republic* The southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands* Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, Guantanamo,Santiago de Cuba, and Granma
Tropical Storm Watch:* The central Bahamas* Andros Island* Florida Keys from Ocean Reef to Key West and the Dry Tortugas* Florida Bay
This story was first reported by Emily McCain at WFTS in Tampa Bay, Florida.